What’s so Good (and bad) about smoothies?

What’s so Good (and bad) about smoothies?

Wow Kathy, would you seriously come in and harsh our buzz during Smoothie Week? Of course… I would. But I’m not going to… much. The bad news about smoothies is they can be sugar and calorie bombs if you’re not careful. The good news is they can be nutritional powerhouses in a to-go cup if you know what you’re doing. And we know what we’re doing. Or we will in a minute.



photo by Maya Visnyei

Ever pop in to a Jamba Juice or Smoothie King and grab what sounded like a salad in a cup? Lots of greens, maybe even some added protein, a little yogurt, a handful of berries, what could be better than that? Except many commercially prepared smoothies, no matter how healthy the ingredients may sound, can contain half your daily allotment of calories and more sugar than anyone needs. That’s why it’s always advisable to make your own smoothies so that you control the ingredients and the portion sizes (what is up with those monster smoothies after all? A little extra bicep work hefting the thing up to your mouth maybe?) If you love the convenience of having someone else make it for you just be sure to check the nutritional stats of your favourite (they should be able to provide it to you and in fact, many places have that information out front and centre for you to see) and then adjust accordingly. Ask for water or low fat milk instead of high calorie juice, plain yogurt instead of flavoured or just fruits and veggies and protein.

But really, smoothies are so easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost so here’s the scoop on designing your best smoothie with a handy “how to” sourced from Precision Nutrition.

Start with iceUse 1-4 cubes for a thin, chilled shakeUse 5-10 cubes for thicker, pudding-like consistency shake
Pick a fruitFrozen bananaFrozen berriesDates

Pineapple / mango

Powdered fruit supplement

Frozen bananas give an excellent consistency. Using half of a banana is usually enough. Dates are very sweet. Make sure to get rid of the pit first.

Pick a veggieDark leafy greens: Kale / Swiss chard / spinach (stems optional)Pumpkin / sweet potatoBeets / beet greens

Cucumber / celery

Powdered greens supplement

Canned pumpkin is great. It goes well with vanilla. When using beets, try roasting and removing the skin first. Beets go well with chocolate. If you add celery / cucumber, make sure to adjust the amount of liquid you add.

Pick a protein powderWhey proteinRice proteinPea protein

Hemp protein

Other proteins or protein blend

Some protein powders have thickeners added. This will increase the thickness of your shake. Find the protein supplement that you digest well and enjoy the taste of.

Pick a nut / seedWalnutsFlax, hemp, chia seedsCashews


Nut butter

Nuts and seeds give the shake an excellent consistency. A handful is usually enough.

Pick a liquidAlmond milk (unsweetened)Soy milk (unsweetened)Hemp milk (unsweetened)

Iced green tea


Less liquid = thick shakes. More liquid = thin shakes. Adding liquid at the end of the process can improve how the shake initially blends.

Pick a topperCoconutCacao nibs, dark chocolatePomegranate seeds, goji berries

Oats, granola


A little goes a long way. Cinnamon is good with vanilla and pumpkin.




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